Protesters gather in Jersey's Royal Square asking government to call for Gaza ceasefire

Protesters calling for peace in the Middle East demonstrated outside Jersey's States Chamber on Tuesday 7 November. Credit: ITV Channel

Around 150 protesters have gathered in Jersey's Royal Square, calling on the island's government to push for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

The conflict escalated last month when the Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked Israeli communities, killing 1,500 people.

In retaliation, the Israeli military launched air and artillery strikes which have killed more than 9,000 Palestinians according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.

While the dispute recently escalated, the territory has been disputed since the 1920s when Britain took control of Palestine following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

The UK was tasked by the international community to find a "national home" in Palestine for Jews, alongside the existing Arab population.

After decades of unrest and violence between the two groups, the UN voted to split Palestine into separate states in 1947 - creating Israel as a "safe haven" for Jews fleeing persecution.

In the years since, many Western countries now recognise the state of Israel, while many regard Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

Many have called for a ceasefire in Gaza, but government officials from around the world have been reluctant to go that far, arguing Hamas would be "emboldened" by such a move.

At least 45 people were killed by an Israeli air strike at Al-Maghazi refugee camp, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. Credit: AP

Jersey's government is currently aligned with the UK in calling for a swift end to the violence, but not a ceasefire.

Tthe Chief Minister and religious leaders issued a joint "Unity Statement" calling for "a swift end to the violence and suffering" in the Middle East.

It read: "We condemn any loss of life, and share in the profound sense of shock and sadness that has reverberated around our island, and the world, in recent days.

"There can be no justification for the heinous acts of terrorism wrought upon Israel and Israelis by Hamas.

"We recognise the right of Israel to protect itself against such terrorism; every country would do the same. Likewise, we deplore the actions of Hamas terrorists in taking and holding Israeli hostages who must be released immediately."

The statement went on to defend Israel's right to defend itself and echoed international calls to abide by humanitarian laws and avoid putting civilians in danger.

But some islanders say Jersey's government has not gone far enough and is putting pressure on officials to formally call for a ceasefire.

Protesters took to the Royal Square during Tuesday's States sitting to call for peace in the Middle East.

One told ITV News: "I'm here as a human and mum to say no to this absolute madness... It's just horrific... so much love to all the Israeli children and praying the hostages get released. This is not about taking sides... it has brought me to my knees in grief."

An emotional Deputy Sam Mézec was among the politicians to attend the demonstration. Credit: ITV Channel

The demonstration was organised by Natalie Strecker. She explained why she wanted to take a stand: "Where do we want to stand in history? It's absolutely vital that we add our voices to the millions of conscientious people around the world... It's really encouraging to see a real range of people coming today."

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